Executive Committee

TOS President

Dan Bessesen, MD, FTOS

[email protected]

Dr. Dan Bessesen is professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes at the University of Colorado, School of Medicine (UCSOM). He is also director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center on the campus of UCSOM, the associate director of the Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center, and holds the Anschutz Foundation Endowed Chair in Health and Wellness.

Dr. Bessesen has conducted research funded by the National Institutes of Health into nutrient metabolism and the regulation of body weight, and has also researched the care of patients with obesity. He has been a member of TOS since 1995 and has served on multiple committees and in many leadership positions. Dr. Bessesen holds a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University and received his MD degree from the University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center.

TOS President-Elect

Elizabeth Parks, PhD, FTOS

[email protected]

Dr. Elizabeth Parks received her PhD from the University of California, Davis in the Department of Nutrition and she completed a post-doctoral fellow at Berkeley. She has held academic positions at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She is currently a tenured professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, within the Medical School, at the University of Missouri at Columbia. She also serves as associate director of the Clinical Research Center in the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science.

The major research contributions of Dr. Parks’ lab emanate from her development of new techniques for use in animal models and in humans to discover how obesity alters the metabolism of food to lead to disease. Dr. Parks’ lab was the first to investigate the transition from fasting to feeding to uncover how dietary carbohydrate contributes to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

TOS Vice President

Jamy Ard, MD, FTOS

[email protected]

Dr. Ard is professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention in the Division of Public Health Sciences, co-director of the Weight Management Center and medical director of medical weight management at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC.

In October 2021, Ard was elected as a member to the National Academy of Medicine. Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

Ard conducts research in clinical strategies to treat obesity and associated risk-factor modification. He also focuses on health disparities and ways to better engage African Americans in effective obesity treatment and research programs. Ard is a graduate of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, where he earned his medical degree. He also holds a bachelor’s of science degree in biology from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.

TOS Immediate Past President

Catherine Kotz, PhD, FTOS

[email protected]

A leading researcher into the neuroscience of obesity and energy balance, Dr. Catherine Kotz is professor and director of graduate studies at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology.

She is also associate director of research at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center in Minneapolis.

Dr. Kotz is a long-time, active member of TOS and has served on numerous Society committees, including Public Affairs, Nominating, Planning, Finance and Publications.

She has also served on TOS Governing Board and as a spokesperson for the organization. She holds two advanced degrees from the University of Minnesota; a PhD in nutrition sciences and a master of science degree in human nutrition.

TOS Secretary/Treasurer

Leah Whigham, PhD, FTOS

[email protected]

Dr. Leah Whigham is the founding executive director of the Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living (IHL) and associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Her research has increased our understanding of metabolism as it relates to obesity, the influence of nutrients and immune function on body composition, and the impact of the environment on nutrition and physical activity.

At the IHL, Dr. Whigham oversees a mission to increase healthy eating and active living by providing a bridge between science and application that empowers individuals, families, organizations, and communities to build a culture of health.

Dr. Whigham has a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Iowa State University and a PhD in nutritional sciences from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Governing Board

Ellen A. Schur MD, MS
University of Washington
Governing Boardor: Clinical Practice

Katherine Bauer, PhD, FTOS
University of Michigan
Governing Boardor: Population/Epidemiology

Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, PhD, FTOS
Uniformed Services University
Governing Boardor: At-Large

Jaime Almandoz, MD, FTOS
UT Southwestern University
Governing Boardor: At-Large

Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, FTOS
Harvard Medical School
Governing Boardor: Advocacy/Public Affairs/Regulatory

Molly Bray, PhD, FTOS
University of Texas at Austin
Governing Boardor: At-Large

Edna Nava-González, PhD
Autonomous University of Nuevo León
Governing Boardor: At-Large-Mexico

Jeffrey Zigman, MD, PhD, FTOS
UT Southwestern University
Governing Boardor: Basic/Experimental/Preclinical

Sarah Barlow, MD
University of Texas Southwestern
Governing Boardor: Clinical Research

Sean Wharton, MD, PharmD
Wharton Medical Clinical
Governing Boardor: At-Large-Canada, 2022-2024